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Travis Pinney's picture

Fallen out of love

Recently I feel I've fallen out of love with Vehicle Photography, or Maybe it's just I'm tired of the "model" or I'm not pushing myself hard enough

I work for a local Volvo dealership and aside from being the Marketing Director I'm also their full time photographer. I feel like I can only photograph a Volvo so many ways until I get completely burnt out. When I worked at Audi I at least had the Lamborghini store next door to pique my interest and keep me creative.

How do you guys go about getting out of your creative slumps? Also, any critiques on the images are welcome! All of these taken with my Nikon D750 with either my 50mm f1.8 or 24-85mm f3.5-4.5

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Andres Cifuentes's picture

Love Volvo´s current design language, is that final image a factory spec paint job? That´s pretty badass! Nice pics on cool locations as well.

Travis Pinney's picture

Thanks Andres!

I'm a fan of it as well, it's a huge change from what they used to be, the brand finally has some personality to it again.

That XC90 has a Matte Grey vinyl wrap on it, with 22' Rotiform HUR-T Wheels. That's a client's vehicle, he owns a custom shop in town. On the Polestar Engineered Volvo's you can order them with matte white/grey/black paint though.

Francisco B's picture

nice photos, compositionally they feel a bit too busy.

Travis Pinney's picture

Unfortunately for Las Vegas there aren't a tone of uncluttered places to shoot so I take mostly everything out to the desert or close to it. I can see what you're saying though, I'll be more aware of it down the line.

I think with a lot of our advertising, my mindset is trying to portray familiar areas with people. Like hey, those are actually photos in our area, not some stock photo from the manufacturer.

The dry lake bed and Red Rock area are iconic in our Valley

For getting out of a car shooting slump there are a few things I'd advise.
Looks like all are shot with the camera about 4 feet high. The safe zone, try to shoot from 6 or 8 feet high or 6 inches off the ground.
Try a long lens, or a wider lense to stretch the car a bit.
Front 3/4 are needed but 7/8 views are nice too.
Have you tied using any off camera flash or reflectors? Shoot at the end or start of the day not the middle.

As far as these shot I think they are pretty nice.
Is the red one heavily retouched, did you do a color change? The hood looks very very perfect! There's a shadowy thing going on around the rear wheel. In that shot I would remove the white line, or have shot it so the car isn't on the line.

The white wagon is pretty cool but I don't think you need the piles of dirt in the foreground, a 16:9 crop would work well.
The black wagon would look better in different light, maybe sunset with the perfect horizon line? The shrub blocking the wheel kills it for me. But I like the OOF stuff.
The grey car looks great but the location does not work for me , I know where you going with this but it didn't quite work...IMO

Just my opinion. I have done a few car shots.

Travis Pinney's picture

Thank you for all of the input, it's super helpful.

I'm at a bit of a limitation with time of day as I only have access to cars during business hours due to insurance restrictions.

My lens setup hasn't expanded past the 2 lenses I have yet, but I would like to get a long lens. I'm not a fan of wide-angle at all, I feel like it distorts the image of the car too much, though I know there are very successful people that prefer and shoot that style, anything wider than 35mm looks strange to me for cars.

The red one is retouched to bring back in color and try to remove reflections, I used a polarizer and blended the 2 images in photoshop. I darkened up the asphalt surface to make it stand out a bit more and missed that spot underneath the car leading to the strange shadow/highlight. Here's the original unedited version of it, I tend to shoot in a flat profile.

Travis Pinney's picture

The Red in that car is very bright actually, its got an orange undertone as well. I probably boosted the reds in that photo way too much now that I look at them side by side.

As for the Grey car, that's a customers car shot on our service drive, I wasn't able to move it further up. We have white metal garage bays that looks really neat as a backdrop and I think it would have helped with the contrast and make the car stand out a bit more.

Also, I hear what you're saying about the 4 foot high thing, I always crouch, I think it's turned into a habit for me..... but I'll try different angles next go around for sure.

David Perman's picture

The sharpness is perfect.